Texas launches Space Commission

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced the launch of the Texas Space Commission today during a visit to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. 

Abbott was joined by NASA’s JSC Director Vanessa Wyche, Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, and state Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood, the author of the bill that established the Texas Space Commission. 

Picture at table, from left to right: State Rep. Greg Bonnen, R-Friendswood, Speaker Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, Gov. Greg Abbott, and JSC Director Vanessa Wyche

House Bill 3447, passed during the 88th Legislature, creates two entities — the Texas Space Commission and the Texas Aerospace Research and Space Economy Consortium. Both entities are governed by a nine-member board and executive committee, respectively. 

The members named to the commission are:

  • Gwen Griffin of Houston
  • Kathy Lueders of Brownsville
  • John Shannon of Houston
  • Sarah “Sassie” Duggleby
  • Kirk Shireman of Pearland
  • Evan Loomis of Austin
  • Heather Wilson, Ph.D., of El Paso
  • Nancy Currie-Gregg, Ph.D., of College Station
  • Brad Morrison of Boerne

The members named to the research and space economy consortium are:

  • Stephanie Murphy of Seabrook
  • Matt Ondler of Houston
  • Bill Weber of Austin
  • Jack “2fish” Fisher of Houston
  • Brian Freedman of Friendswood
  • Shey Sabripour
  • Robert Ambrose, Ph.D.
  • Daniel T. Jaffe, Ph.D.
  • David Alexander, Ph.D.

Gov. Abbott’s announcement from today’s event contains full biographies of the commission and consortium members.

An important step for the Texas space industry’s future

HB 3447 passed with strong bipartisan support during the 2023 regular session. In the House, the bill’s final vote was 125-11, receiving the support of 92% of voting Representatives. Similarly, in the Senate, the bill’s final vote was 29-2, receiving the support of 93.5% of Senators.

Legislators also included $350 million in their budget for the commission, with $150 million going towards a fund that will be administered by the commission, and $200 million appropriated for construction of research facilities adjacent to the Johnson Space Center. 

The announcement this morning represents an important step for the future growth of the space industry in Texas. The nine members announced this afternoon will assume significant responsibilities for the health of the Texas space industry moving forward. 

Those responsibilities include development of a strategic plan for:

  • promotion of space, aeronautics and aviation economic development, 
  • promotion of workforce training around emerging technologies needed for space exploration, and 
  • identification of research and funding opportunities that further Texas’ leadership in space research and development.

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